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Weinberg Opposes NJ After-3 Elimination

Says Governor’s Cuts to Good Programs Undermine Public Education

TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg said today that she opposes the Governor’s proposed elimination of the New Jersey After-3 program, a Statewide after-school initiative which has a proven track record of helping students in public schools achieve higher test scores and better academic comprehension, and that she would seek to find the funds to restore the program in the FY 2012 Budget.

“I don’t know whether or not the Governor’s motivation is based on setting public education up for failure, but he’s certainly eliminating a number of programs and initiatives which have spelled success in the past,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “Whether it’s New Jersey After-3, or cancelling the expansion of pre-K education in suburban districts, Governor Christie’s policy of dismantling the public education system, one good program at a time, seems to be in full-effect. Unfortunately, public school students are going to suffer for the Governor’s anti-public-education agenda.”

New Jersey After-3 is a partnership between the State and the nonprofit community which was created in 2004 to provide access to after-school activities for students in urban, suburban and rural school districts. In the six years since it was created, New Jersey After-3 has helped students to achieve significantly higher test scores in language arts, math and computer skills, and have demonstrated better study skills and learning comprehension. Last year, the program was targeted for elimination, but after lawmakers objected, the Governor restored $3 million to the program in the FY 2011 Budget.

“The Governor might think that worthy programs like pre-K and New Jersey After-3 are just a form of baby-sitting, but I think the students who’ve benefitted from these programs might beg to differ,” said Senator Weinberg. “Rather than rail against the public education system in New Jersey, Governor Christie might try to actually work with educators and support worthy programs which produce proven, documented results. New Jersey After-3 has a track record of success, and should be preserved in the final FY 2012 Budget.”